Mean Gilt

Another day, another news story.

This one’s a play in two acts:

Act 1.

Act 2.

Unrelated, coincidentally-timed announcements? Or a transparent maneuver to dodge the stink of such greed from clinging to a family-friendly affair?

If it was the former, Cynical Steven wouldn’t be writing right now.

But, surprisingly, I’m not here to condemn money-grubbing producers, especially those offering free tickets, an occurrence as rare as a producer starting a pitch meeting by outlining the financial straits facing most Broadway outings.

Well…I’m not here to condemn the outrageous price of tickets they charge. Though I do believe America’s in desperate need of more socialism to balance the unrestrained capitalism that’s run rampant for too long, in the case of Broadway, ticket prices shouldn’t be capped. If they were, until the second market can be stopped — a whack-a mole pipe dream that’s nigh impossible — brokers would just fatten their wallets off the backs of the actual theatre-makers. They can only fetch outrageous amounts because people are willing to pay. The bubble will probably burst one day, but for now, those involved with the actual product should indeed be the ones to profit off the proceeds of their labor.

But do they need to holler about their fortune to the high heavens? Why continually circulate press releases whenever a shows break one of its theatre’s box office records? Mean Girls is by no means the only offender of this tangibly-harmless, but perceptively-damaging crime. Basically every show, when lucky enough to announce such an “achievement”, uses the event as a convenient excuse to garner a few more press clippings.

But if readers think past the headlines, they’ll realize that such record breaking is a sign of nothing more than drastically inflated prices; it’s not like these landmarked theatres are increasing capacity! As such, how else could they be generating so much more moolah? Gratis tickets are always appreciated, and an admittedly unnecessary gesture, but giving away 1,000 seats without charging doesn’t necessarily make up for overcharging for hundreds and thousands over what’s looking like will be a multi-year run. Producers can and should charge that much; they should just stop publicly declaring it as some sort of accomplishment.

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